Rochester River Run 5K Raises Much-Needed Funds for Transplant Patients at Strong

Apr. 5, 2019
Donors, transplant recipients, and families gather to salute Donate Life Month and support organ transplant patients.
Participants round the corner as they embark on the 17th annual River Run in 2018.
Participants round the corner as they embark on the 17th annual River Run in 2018.

The Rochester River Run/Walk 5K—scheduled for Sunday, April 7 at Genesee Valley Park—is raising funds in support of patients who are awaiting or recovering from organ transplant surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital. Individuals and teams are invited to run, walk or pledge their support at

Nearly 1,000 participants will begin racing the five scenic kilometers along the Genesee River at 10 a.m. sharp—crossing through Genesee Valley Park and the University of Rochester campus. Award presentation will commence at 11 a.m. and a ceremony commemorating the memories of past donors and transplant recipients will begin at 11:15 a.m. The track is certified by USA Track & Field #NY15140KL and chip-timed racing results will be available.

UR Medicine’s Solid Organ Transplant program each year serves hundreds of heart, liver, pancreas and kidney patients from across Western New York, the Southern Tier and beyond. In addition to current transplant recipients, Strong provides ongoing care for patients who continue coming to Rochester for medical care related to their transplant.

All proceeds from the River Run go directly to benefit these transplant patients, as they’re often in need of emergency financial assistance while they await or recover from surgery. More than $250,000 has been raised since the event’s inception, and more than 100 patients have received assistance over the past three years alone—many at multiple times.

“Donor families and recipients brave challenges long after transplant,” says Nancy Metzler, transplant program administrator and an organizer of the Rochester River Run. “It’s important to help them as much as possible, and the proceeds from the Run allow us to provide a little extra assistance, which can make a big difference.”

With many more patients currently on the transplant waiting list, there remains a significant need for financial assistance to help them maintain the costly medical treatments required as they await a donor.

The River Run, in acknowledgement of National Donate Life Month, also strives to bring greater awareness to the ongoing need and importance of signing up for the New York State Organ Donor Registry, while honoring organ transplant recipients, living donors and members of donor families.

Top male and female runners in each of six age groups, in addition to the top overall runners, will be recognized with awards, and the top pledge collector will receive a grand prize. 

Pledge your support for a team or an individual—or register to participate—at Children 10 and under are free. Attendees can also enter to win from more than 20 deluxe, themed gift baskets to help raise additional funds for transplant patients. 

The Rochester River Run is organized by UR Medicine’s transplant team; together with Friends of Strong, a fundraising and volunteer organization serving patients, families and guests at Strong Memorial Hospital. Call Friends of Strong at (585) 275-2420 for more information.